Upgrade laptop CPU from i3-330M to i5-whatever


I have a VPCCW2S1E with:

I'd like to upgrade it with an i5. (or anything faster!) I see my socket is either a BGA1288 or PGA988 and an i5 such as this one support the same.

How could I possibly know if the motherboard/chipset will support these higher speeds?

Best Answer

As for upgrading the CPU: That can work, but is quite non-trivial. It is not merely checking if the sockets match, putting in a new CPU and running at the new CPU's speed. You also need:

  1. Check if your old CPU is soldered on the motherboard (Very rare these days). If it is you can not replace it without replacing the entire motherboard. (Disclaimer: If you have access to factory tools it is possible, but not for Jane Average person).
  2. Make sure the new CPU uses some voltages which the laptop motherboard can supply (Not always the case)
  3. Check how much power it draws. (A 35 Watt laptop CPU in socket which previously held a 25 Watt laptop CPU may or, or it may burn out things. (i3 330M is 35W, i5 430/450/460/480/520/540/560/580M are also 35W)
  4. More wattage -> more heat. Not a problem on desktops, but often a problem in laptops.
  5. Does your BIOS support the new CPU. If it does not your laptop will not work.
  6. The actual replacing might be non trivial (On a desktop you just open the large box, remove the fan and have access to the CPU. On a laptop you often have to take it completely apart. This is not an issue of it can not be done but more of an issue of it is not trivial to do. (It is quite simple if you own or can borrow a screwdriver and if you remember how everything fits. Hint: Download the service manual and/or take lots of pictures.)
  7. If your laptop has an older chipset then using a compatible modern CPU will not give you the best performance of that CPU. Compare this to putting a Porche motor in a Beetle. It will go a lot faster, but not as fast as the Porche it was designed for. (If you use an i5 CPU from the same generation as the i3 330M it is more like swapping a Porsche 2.7 motor for a 3.2 Porsche motor in a Porsche, only much simpler and a completely unrelated task to motor mechanics)

Having written all that:

  • Yes, the SSD is a good idea. It will make the system a lot more responsive. And you can transplant it to a new laptop whenever you upgrade to the next system.
  • More RAM is also a good idea, and is relative cheap to do. Please note that page you linked to shows "Max. Supported Memory (GB) 8". You may need to remove old memory to replace it with the 8GiB SoDIMM, rather than adding 8 GiB.
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